Call for peace - Ninth Symphony

13 May 2024 | Ninth Symphony | Ludwig Van Beethoven | Antwerp 

May 2024 marks the 200th anniversary of the first performance of Ludwig Van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The Ninth is still considered an iconic work today. The peace message of the final chorus 'Alle Menschen werden Brüder' was also used as the basis and inspiration for the European anthem in 1971.

The Belgian presidency of the EU in 2024 and the bicentenary of the Ninth Symphony were two arguments for organising a big celebration concert on 13 May 2024. In these turbulent times, Beethoven's message of peace is more relevant than ever. This concert was therefore dedicated to a European 'call for peace'.

This production is led by Beethoven expert and conductor Jan Caeyers. His orchestra, Le Concert Olympique, has built up a convincing reputation in Europe's major concert halls over the past ten years. The international soloists and the Viennese Arnold Schoenberg Chor are also outstanding in their Beethoven interpretation.

The Ninth was preceded by the Chorphantasie (Op. 80) for keyboard, choir and orchestra. The theme of this composition - music's ability to solve the world's problems - fits seamlessly with Schiller's peace text. But there are also many similarities on a compositional and technical level: the strength of this piece lies in its treatment of the theme through a series of variations. And as in the Ninth, the body of the Chorphantasie is preceded by a long, semi-improvised introduction.

The programming of the Chorphantasie was also an excellent opportunity to introduce American wonder pianist Kit Armstrong. Together with Jan Caeyers, he is the figurehead of the ambitious Beethoven27 project: a concert tour of Beethoven's 27 most essential works in 27 EU cities by 2027. The 13 May 2024 concert in Antwerp was therefore the official kick-off of Beethoven27.

Le Concert Olympique, conducted by Jan Caeyers
Arnold Schoenberg Choir, conducted by Erwin Ortner

Pieces performed: 

L. VAN BEETHOVEN: Chorphantasie, op. 80 [1808]
L. VAN BEETHOVEN: Negende symfonie in d mineur, op. 125 [1824]


Lenneke Ruiten, soprano
Ulrike Mayer, mezzo-soprano
Simon Bode, tenor
Hanno Müller-Brachmann, bass

Call for peace - Ninth Symphony

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